The Adventure at the Natural History Museum, Vienna

After four months of avoiding his new scooter at all costs, Noah has recently made his peace with it. Now confident he can steer it without flipping himself over the handlebars, he wants to take it everywhere. At first, watching with my heart in my mouth as he veered dangerously close to the road, I ran along beside him as he scooted. Obviously, due to lack of fitness and general lack of energy since I became a mother, this could not be sustained. I now settle for shouting “STOP!” when he is more than ten metres in front of me. Without fail, when he hears this command, he wobbles to a stop, leaps off the side and shouts, “Did you say stop?” back at whoever is responsible for him at the time.

So our family trip to the National History Museum started with Noah zooming ahead of us, red bobble on his bobble hat bobbing in the distance. Outside the museum, there is a grassy forecourt with a large green stone statue in the middle. As there are no roads and therefore cars on this forecourt, Noah was allowed to scoot towards the statue without the limitation of our stop command. He flew straight past a group of tourists from Japan who were admiring the architecture and ploughed headfirst into the grassy bank encircling the statue. He then picked himself up without a murmur, fished his scooter out of the gravel and turned towards us to see where we had got to. The tourists were highly amused. “Very tough!” one of them said as we approached. Yes, Noah is very tough. When it suits him.

He was fed up of the museum sooner than we hoped. In fact, he had had enough after the dinosaur room which was the first room we visited. By the time we were in the third room he was sliding across the floor on his tummy, regardless of the feet which had to step over or around him.

“Get up Noah.”

“No. I’m a whale.”

“Get up, please, Noah.”

“I’m a whale.”

“Noah, will you please get up off the floor? You are getting in everyone’s way and the floor is dirty!”

“I’m a whale.”

He refused to get up for quite some time.

We stopped for refreshment in the museum café after hurrying around the first floor. Still grumpy, Noah sat on my lap. I saw him pulling his glass of apple juice towards me in slow motion. It tipped forward into both our laps, just like so many glasses of apple juice have done in the past. It was a full glass; we were both saturated. Noah’s trousers were removed. His socks and shoes had already been removed as soon as he sat down because that’s what all three year olds do as soon as they sit in a restaurant. Don’t they? My husband took the trousers to the bathroom and set the hand dryer on them whilst Noah sat happily at the table, watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates on my mobile and playing with his willy.

He really wasn’t interested in looking at anything else, but seeing as we had paid 10 euros to get in, we were determined to at least stride through the upstairs rooms. His attention could momentarily be directed to the elephants, the giraffes and the Big Brown Bear, but he mostly wanted to sit on the floor and refuse to move, bite my leg, punch the handbag of an innocent bystander and run through the corridors.

On leaving the museum, his mood lifted as he was promised a cake by his grandmother. He declared he would get “a big, big cake right up to the ceiling”. He chose a little yellow iced fondant decorated like an Easter chick.

Happy Easter Monday, my Noah.

Noah attacking a pre-historic sea creature with the museum map
Noah attacking a pre-historic sea creature with the museum map
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